The Living Area: User studies and concept design


    The city of Malmö is involved in Periphéria, an innovation project funded by the European Union, which focuses on the “Stråket” (the path) project that aims to enhance public spaces in the neighbourhood of Rosengård. The work presented in this paper is part of a student group project within the Stråket project and focuses on a specific public space in Rosengård called the „activity area‟. The aim of this student project was to create a new public meeting place by exploring how technology can be intertwined with traditional ideas to engage social play at this activity area. We focused on young people with the most important target group being young women 16 to 24 years old. Previous data from user studies was available from the Malmö municipality and further data was gained by observations, interviews and workshops. Data gathered was analysed to determine user needs and use qualities, which is the first contribution of this paper.

    The second contribution of this paper is a novel design concept called a „Living Area‟. This „Living Area‟ idea was viewed as the big picture with philosophical meaning and is more theoretical in foundation. For a more practical concept we focused on one possible aspect of the „Living Area‟ called a “Shadow Play” activity. “Shadow Play” was partly implemented using Microsoft Kinect and Processing programming language. The simple implementation allowed an individual to „play‟ with a projection that looked like a shadow; the exception was that this projected shadow frowned when the user did not play with it for a few seconds but smiled again when play resumed. Shadow Play was tested and results showed that people of all ages and gender enjoyed playing with their shadow and said they would definitely like to have an activity like that in the activity area. From these results it was determined that the Living Area concept and the Shadow Play activity are promising ideas for inclusion in the Stråket project.

    User studies, living area, use qualities, shadow play.


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